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Rechargeable battery in an active bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Raman, Dec 10, 2003.

  1. Raman


    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    Any reason why not ?

    -Just not certain because everybody, from my luthier to the manufacturer booklets, seem to agree I should only ever use alkaline batteries in my basses...

    I would assume that's only because alkaline last longer. But then again, I can't say I know much about batteries.
    If it's only for that reason, then a rechargeable would be just as good.
    What do you think ?

    And do you know good rechargeable brands ?
    The only one I know is RadioShack's. Not that they're bad, but as usual with that shop, I'm sure there exists better, and probably for cheaper too.
  2. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    The problem with the rechargeables is that most of them only put out about 7.2 volts when they're fully charged. Not 9 volts. Read the fine print on the battery label. In some basses that'll work fine, and in others it'll sound thin or distorted. Certainly worth a try though. Also another thing to watch out for is that the rechargeables sometimes die differently. An ordinary 9 volt might die "gracefully", like it might get a little weak and fuzzy and distorted when the battery wears down, and then gradually die out completely. But a rechargeable can die "instantly", like you'll be in the middle of a song toodling along at full volume, and all of a sudden "blammo", nothing. So when you try them out, make sure you also find out what happens when they die down. I used to have rechargeables in an old modified F bass I had, they worked fine but I had to make sure they had a fresh charge at the beginning of each gig, 'cause I didn't want to risk death in the middle of a song. The result of that was I ended opening up the cavity "a lot", which isn't necessarily a good thing. So that's something else to thing about. A rechargeable won't last as long as an ordinary battery, so you'll be opening the compartment more often.
  3. I'm not prepared to offer any high tech info on this, just my experience. My active eq BTB405 likes to have batteries with a full charge. If the batteries drop off just a little, the electronics go wacko; making all sorts of snaps, pops, and crackles rendering the bass useless until changing the batteries. The popping is the only warning I have, it just happens "right now" and we're done. The rechargable 9v batteries that I'm aware of don't have the lasting power of regular alkalines, even rechargable alkalines do not. I use rechargable alkalines in my wireless mic, but they are very easy to change and I do so at the beginning of each session. For example, I get about 14 hours out of one AAA regular alkaline to 3 hours out of one AAA rechargable alkaline in my mic. I don't care to mess with that kind of battery life in my bass since it is not quite as easy to change the batteries in it, needing to use a screw driver to remove screws and re-install. I use Energizer Titaniums in my bass and they last forever. I know there are other high quality brands on the market, but the Energizers are readily available to me and work well.
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Two of the outboard preamps I use for URB have "low battery" warning LEDs and I've measured the voltage on a 9V when the LED came on. In both units it was 7 volts. ..no surprise that a rechargeable that's only 7.2V when fresh is not going ot work well.

    Some rechargeables can't draw as much current as an alkaline and may droop in voltage too much under high current draw.

    I get 6-12 months out of a $3 alkaline. At that rate it would take me many years to pay off the initial investment in rechargeables anyway.
  5. monkfill


    Jan 1, 2003
    Kansas City
    What's the point?

    A standard battery will last 6-9 months. Its not like a digital camera battery that croaks inside a week.
  6. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Been doing it for years in a Soungear and another bass with a Bartolini EQ.

    No problem whatsoever.
  7. GrooveWarrior

    GrooveWarrior Supporting Member

    Don't do it. All the above information is good. Not as much of a charge, and when low battery lights come on it is usually around 7 volts. Wacky things happen with on-board preamps when they aren't getting enough juice.
  8. As far as i know using rechargable batteries won't do any damaga ... try them out for a while ... if they work, great continute using them. If not can the idea and just use regular alkaline batteries. Who knows, you may get lucky and get away with using rechargables. And if your bass's battery compartment has one of theose clip on/off covers, even better, you don't have top worry about stripping anything with the screws or putting "pin stripes" on your bass.

  9. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    One other thing that hasn't been mentioned is that rechargeables lose their charge even when they aren't being used. I have 4 basses and find that I can get a full year out of my akaline batteries. NiCd or NiMh will not hold a charge that long even if they aren't used.

    I personally do not find that rechargeable batteries make sense for this application.
  10. natrab


    Dec 9, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    I was wondering if lithium batteries would be good for the job. They generally hold 4-6 times the charge of an alkaline. I have lithium batteries in a digital camera and I've only had to change them once in the last 4 years.
  11. A really stupid idea of mine was that if you can find a really compact charger, you could put it inside the bass. Then you could just plug in your bass every night and know that you'll have a fresh charge. Of course this would add weight, and there's the problem with finding the right charger, and the wiring, which might have to break the circuit between the battery and the preamp while the battery is charging. But one cool thing you could do is build a bass stand/charging cradle, so all you'd have to do is set the bass on the stand when you're not using it. Of course this would all be unnecessarily expensive and time consuming, but dang, it'd be cool!
  12. Raman


    Feb 19, 2003
    Montreal, Qc
    Thanks for all the info.
    I guess I'll forget about this idea.

    In my case, I tend to change the battery more often than not. And especially before each show, no matter how long it's been there. (I'm kind of paranoid that way.)
    So considering that the good brand batteries here cost almost 10$ now....

    What I'd really like to do is run a small adaptor cable alongside the jack that plugs into the bass. -Attach the two cables together somehow so it still feels like dragging only one, and have them separate at the end so the adaptor goes straight to the battery compartment, through a hole in the cover plate.

    Maybe I'll actually get around to doing it some day...
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